LARRY IN THE UK...
A factual history of Larry Norman’s
numerous visits to the United Kingdom and Ireland (1972 - 2001)
Spring - The first time for Larry to visit the UK. Commencing
in Lancaster University, Larry performs 38 concerts in 35 days
in the spring of 1972. Possibly the source of his song “Stop
Larry also made his first performance at the Royal Albert Hall
during 1972. The concert was recorded for a live album.
released Larry’s latest single “Righteous Rocker”. Alan
Freeman on Radio 1 says “that’s one helluva record”. “Honour,
truth, kindness and a lot of good music” is how John Peel
describes the Capitol recorded album Upon This Rock.
August - Larry sings at the major Festival for Jesus event in
London. Cliff Richard,
Dana, Graham Kendrick and Gordon Giltrap also take part. Buzz
Magazine August issue publishes a special colour edition for
the Festival and contains A Very Conspicuous Childhood interview with Larry.
September 8th - Larry commences the recording of Only Visiting
This Planet in George Martin’s Air Studios London. He
notes on the album linear notes “The first day we recorded
there was a bomb scare and we all had to leave the building”. The
album was initially released on the Verve Label in the US and
on MGM in the UK.
Jan 6th - Larry appears at the Royal Albert Hall as part of
the Start The New Year With Jesus Festival. Over 10,000
people turned up to listen to Larry, Malcolm & Alywn, Parchment
and Graham Kendrick. Standing tickets cost 25p each.
During the event Larry announced that he will not be performing
again in Christian concerts because he “wanted to be out
in the world preaching the gospel to an unconverted culture,
not in the churches singing to people who have bought all my
Larry also meets and talks with Cliff Richard for the first time at this event.
April - Crusade Magazine runs an interview with Larry.
August 7th - Larry is back in Air Studios to begin recording
So Long Ago The Garden for MGM Records.
travels for the first time over the Irish Sea to be hosted by
the new Irish promoter Miles
McKee - soon to be manager of American
country rock band Liberation Suite. George Lowden of Lowden
guitar fame and Dennis Milligan of ex Kingdom Come and Pilgrim
Records also aided in the tour organisation. Concerts are
held in The Arcadia, Portrush, Ballymena and Bangor. In St John’s
Hall, Newcastle 300 hippies crowded in for a free concert.
It was in 1973 that Larry meets Hope Valentine in London. The
song Come Away recorded for the Stranded In Babylon album is
written about Hope. The linear notes state that Larry met her
in Mayfair near to where his friends Steve Turner and Norman
Stone lived. Hope became a Christian, gave up her prostitution,
and later moved to America.
24th - Larry’s only appearance in Britain back at the Royal Albert Hall. Support is from Parchment and Liberation Suite. Proceeds
were shared with Tear Fund and Arts Centre Group.
October - a 12 date UK Tour was organised by Scope a division
of Word UK Records
- managed by the Scot Norman Miller, the future husband of Sheila
Walsh. Miller eventually moved to America and established
Proper Management - one of the biggest and respected US CCM management
from the 1975 UK Tour also went to Tear Fund and The Arts Centre
Group. Larry introduces Randy Stonehill to UK audience
for the first time. Larry’s actor friend Jerry Houser (star
of Badlands and Class of ’44) plays the village idiot with
a walk on part during the tour. In Another Land and Welcome
to Paradise are promoted on this tour but release is delayed
in the UK until 1976.
March - Larry is interviewed by the New Music Magazine editor
April 15th - Larry appears with Cliff Richard in two charity
concerts in one evening (6.30pm and 9pm) at Birmingham’s
Odeon Theatre. The Free Charity was set up by Pete Townsend
to help addicts break free. Eric Clapton was helped by
Free to break from his drugs addiction.
Five stops take place in the UK as part of Larry’s
World Tour. Support act is from Larry’s old
friends Malcolm & Alwyn
- Alwyn Wall accompanied by his band. More >>> - More >>>
Paws Promotions of Ireland tentively enquired
into a December Larry Norman and Cliff Richard concert in Coleraine
to raise funds for Tear Fund with an after event to encourage
local Christian artists. Larry agrees to waiver fees but Cliff
cannot make the proposed date.
February - Cliff Richard releases an album of rock gospel songs. Three
of Larry’s songs were covered on the Small Corners recording:
Up in Canada, Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music and
I Wish We’d All Been Ready. The album was 5 weeks
in the UK Charts and reached Number 34.
June - Only Visiting This Planet and Streams of White Light
are officially imported by Gibsue Mail Order Music from Larry’s
Street Level LA Offices for mail order distribution in the UK
and Ireland. Rare last available pressings of Street Level,
Bootleg, Sonshippers and Roll Away the Stone are also made available
in the UK by Gibsue.
August - Larry isn’t publicised for an appearance at the
Greenbelt 79 Festival but fellow Solid Rock artist Randy Stonehill
is booked. At the end of Randy’s Greenbelt set he
shouts “My brother just flew in from America - will you
please welcome Larry Norman”. To everyone’s
surprise the energic Larry and band rocks through a new song
Let That Tape Keep Rolling. The song was included on the
film Greenbelt Live which captured the festival weekend. In
the film Cliff gives praise to Larry’s music and talent. An
album of the same title was also released.
January - New
Music Magazine prints Part 1 of a three part series of interviews
with Larry by Don Gillespie. Parts 2 and
3 were published in April and July 1980.
The 1979 Greenbelt Live film is aired on BBC1.
Larry’s management discusses a potential UK Tour to promote
the re-release of Only Visiting This Planet with Alan Gibson
of Redsky Music Records. Neither the tour nor the re-released
Discussions shortly afterwards commences with Chapel Lane Records
regarding the future UK distribution of Larry’s albums.
August 24th - Larry appears with band again at Greenbelt Festival
and headlines on the Sunday evening. Greenbelt had announced
shortly before the festival that Larry had pulled out and Richie
Furay was going to replace him.
October - Roger Green and Lindsay Tuffin write a critical Greenbelt
concert review in Buzz Magazine.
February 6th - Royal Albert Hall. Larry is now living
in a small rented room near to the Bunch of Carrots pub in the
English countryside after the break up of his marriage. He
is working with the newly formed Chapel Lane Productions - owned
by Norman Miller and Rob Andrews. Chapel Lane organises
a major event at the Royal Albert Hall featuring Larry and Sheila
Walsh, Mark Williamson, Bryn Haworth, Alwyn Wall, Norman Barratt
and Liberation Suite.
April - Dave Roberts reviews the Royal Albert Hall event and
compares Larry’s second half to a Young Conservative recruiting
2nd to 16th - Supported again and backed by The Alwyn Wall Band
with Norman Barratt in a 11
date UK Tour promoted
Norman and Friends On Tour. The Dominion Theatre,
London concert is later released on the Friends On Tour album. The
tour and album are both promoted by Chapel Lane Productions.
May 2nd - The Belfast concert takes place when the IRA hunger
strike is coming to a climax and the death of the first of the
prisoners, Bobby Sands, is imminent. Larry is warned by
everyone in England not to come to Belfast because of the likelihood
of severe civil disturbances. Larry is undeterred and turns
up with the Alwyn Wall Band for one of the best performances
that Belfast has ever seen. 2000 people pack into the Assembly
Buildings while outside Belfast is like a ghost town apart from
the routine police and army patrols.
May Day Bank Holiday Weekend - Larry calls in to the Ground
Level Festival in Lincoln with Norman Miller for a look around
on his way back from the Belfast concert tour stop.
May - Roger
Green and Steve Goddard interviews Larry for Buzz Magazine. Titled “The
Tape Keeps Rolling” the
article is controversial. It also questions Larry about
his recent divorce.
June - Larry is spotted at the Launch Party to celebrate the
new ownership of Marshall, Morgan & Scott in The Claridge
Hotel, London. His mum and dad also attend.
August 29th - Greenbelt Festival. Larry hasn’t been
booked this year but then again U2 also hadn’t been booked
and it didn’t stop them making a surprise appearance. Sheila
Walsh performed a set half way down the Saturday evening schedule. As
she was singing the verse to her encore song “You”,
Larry strolled on to sing the chorus.
May 31st - Chapel Lane and Kingsway jointly promote The Banquet
Spring Bank Holiday event at Wembley Arena. Larry appeared
as one of the Monday Rock Day artists. The Rock Day was
originally planned for Saturday but had to be moved to Monday
because the Pope was in town and had doubled booked the venue
Norman Miller publishes an interview with Larry with discussion
around the Chapel Lane venture.
August 25th - The Larry Norman Band headlines the Saturday evening
in Larry’s last mainstage appearance at Greenbelt. The
festival is filmed by ITV Central and part of it is later broadcasted
on the Encounter programme. Larry also took part in a live
Radio Greenbelt interview with Stewart Henderson - later sold
as a festival tape. Martin Wroe from the Greenbelt Committee
also interviews Larry for later publication. Both sit on
the grass with surrounding fans watching with abate breath.
- a Martin Wroe article on Larry appears in Buzz Magazine.
October - a comprehensive Larry interview is printed in the
Greenbelt Strait Magazine complied again by Martin Wroe.
December 1st - Dennis Milligan invites Larry back again to Ireland
to perform another concert in Belfast. Larry is backed by German
band Pieces plus backing singers from America. Larry flaunts
the 11.30 curfew on the building and sings four songs as his
encore. “We’ve been asked to sing one more
song, so we’re going to sing two …..”
April 14th - The BBC produced a Rock Gospel Show hosted by Sheila
Walsh. Larry appeared in the second series. He sang “The
Rock That Doesn’t Roll” as a duet with Cliff Richard
and “What’s Wrong With This Body” helped by
the London Community Gospel Choir. Both these songs were
later released on the Rock, Scissors et Papier CD in 2003.
During 1985 Larry also appeared in a television documentary
with Cliff Richard.
October 31st - The Jan Groth Band backs Larry for a three date
stop in Belfast. The first stop is at Mandela Hall.
November 1st - The second concert is at the university
Fresher’s Ball - on hearing Larry’s performance the previous night
the Student Council lose their cynicism and ask Larry to perform
an unscheduled 30 minute set.
November 2nd - Shankill Leisure Centre provides the venue for
the final concert.
May 5th - Larry plays guitar and keyboard solo set at the Ulster
Hall, Belfast. Charly,
Larry’s brother, is hanging
around back stage with guitar. A
mike and monitor are set up for Charly but Larry doesn’t
ask him to join him on stage!
Michael Beattie of Ulster Television is in the audience. He
is impressed by Larry’s performance and arranges for Larry’s
next concert to be filmed for a 30 minute slot on UTV. -
is Trevor King’s second promotion with Larry in Belfast. Trevor
and Sound International has since promoted a total of 14 Irish
concerts with Larry over the years.
October - Larry partakes in a short European Tour with seven concerts in the UK.
Ulster Television filmed a three camera shoot screened later titled “Righteous
Rocker, Holy Roller”. The
TV Special features Song for a Small Circle of Friends, A
Note from Mr God, Sweet Song of Salvation, A Woman of God, Man
from Galilee, Six Sixty Six, I Wish We’d All Been Ready
and I Am A Servant.
August 29th - Unscheduled Larry arrives at Greenbelt Festival
and manages to play to a packed marquee arranged by Radio Greenbelt
in the Word Record Sales Tent. Larry is selling his just
released Home At Last CD out of a suitcase.
December 1st - The Barratt Band with Norman Barratt and Charly
Norman on join lead guitars play Belfast’s Assembly Buildings.
December 8th - Larry’s one and only performance in Dublin,
Ireland at the YMCA building. He is accompanied by Dan
Cutrona on keyboards and Marian Lisland as backing vocals.
August - Larry appears for the last time at Greenbelt Festival
in the River Marquee.
January 7th - Larry performs one of his longest solo sets in
Belfast at the intimate surroundings of Elmwood Hall.
August: Apparently Larry was provisionally booked to appear
at Greenbelt in 1991 but for some reason could not make the Festival.
November 25th - Back again for another solo concert at Fisherwick
Presbyterian Church, he promotes songs from his recently released
Stranded in Babylon album. Larry performs a short “alien” version
of UFO using a voice synthesiser.
June 21st Belfast - the unthinkable happens - Trevor King receives
a telephone call from Holland to inform him that Larry has had
a heart attack and is in hospital and will be unable to travel
to the well publicised concert the following evening. Phil
n John step in as a last minute replacement and play to a surprised
but receptive capacity audience. Trevor
reads out a letter faxed by Larry from his hospital bed. Emotions
are running high and many people donate money to help Larry with
November - Cross Rhythms reporter Jan Willem Vink interviews
Larry from his hospital bed in Holland.
August 19th - Larry returns for an emotional solo concert in
Belfast. Larry remains seated for most of the evening seated
and plays on a guitar loan to him by long time friend George
May 12th - back again in Belfast playing solo until the Barry
Bynum Band joins him at the end of the concert. Barry was
the former lead guitarist with Liberation Suite. Later
that evening Larry performs with band The Rock That Doesn’t
Roll on the popular Kelly Show on Ulster Television. Larry
donates his appearance fee to the band.
May 16th - four days later Larry plays his first Derry concert. Larry
is in fragile health and has to leave the stage to recuperate. He
requests prayer and some time later he returns with renewed energy. The
concert is filmed by John Wood and privately released on video
titled On The Way To The Sky.
May 12th - Larry this time waits three years to re-appear solo
in Belfast. Local musician Brian Houston shares stage for
three songs. Larry initially provides harmonies to one
of Brian’s songs. A duo follows on the songs We Don’t
Need Religion and The Rock That Doesn’t Roll.
March 22nd Belfast - for this concert Larry is joined on stage
for part of the set by long time friend George Lowden. Rhythms of Redemption chaplain Steve Stockman wrote that this
was Larry’s best concert performance since at least 1987.
August 8th to 28th - Larry does a eight Concert
UK Solo Tour
promoting his most recent Tourniquet album release. At
the West Bromwich concert The Paul Poulton Project Band supported
Larry. On crutches after a fall at the second concert stop in
is accompanied by his sisters, Nancy and Kristy, and his son
Michael on this tour.
28th Belfast - A late addition to the UK Tourniquet Tour. Larry
performs many songs which he has never song before in concert
in the UK. Possibly his last even UK concert appearance?
The Belfast concert officially launches the “Rough Diamonds,
Precious Jewels - The Belfast Bootleg” CD. This 4
CD Set, which contains over 90 tracks from Larry’s concerts
in Belfast 1981-2000, was put together by Larry, Paul Shaw
and Trevor King to raise funds for work amongst Romanian orphans
September 1st: The launch of the Official Larry Norman UK Website
and the distribution of Solid Rock CDs to UK shops. Income
from the sales go towards Larry’s medical expenses.
If you have information, details, archives or
photos relating to any of Larry’s visits to the UK, please contact the
UK Office. Email : email@example.com
Larry in the UK was compiled by Alan
Gibson with appreciation to all the numerous sources who contributed
information, archives and photos - special thanks to Paul
Shaw for supplying extracts from the Backstage Bulletin (Belfast
Concerts 1973-2001) and for inspecting the final document.